Nicola Sturgeon insists smaller countries must do their bit to tackle climate change

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Nicola Sturgeon (TED)
Nicola Sturgeon (TED)

Nicola Sturgeon has urged that smaller countries play a vital role in climate change, saying that they cannot have “business as usual” when it comes to using fossil fuels.

The Scottish First Minister stressed the importance of small nations doing their part with the potential of spurring on larger countries.

Giving a Ted Talk in Edinburgh on Wednesday, she said: “My point today is that yes, big countries matter, but the leadership of small nations matters too.

“It’s often states and regions and small nations that can step in when the bigger countries fail to act.”

In her speech, Ms Sturgeon referred to a “coalition of states and cities that kept the momentum going” in the US when former president Donald Trump removed his country from the Paris climate agreement.

She also used the example of Bhutan which became the first country in the world to commit to being carbon neutral, with 130 countries following suit.

“If we raise our ambition and if we follow that through with action, then we can spur the bigger countries to go further and faster too,” she added.

Scotland, with its rich industrial past, has decarbonised faster than any G20 country, according to the minister.

Despite its smaller size, the nation has disproportionately contributed to climate change and “must do more now to help tackle climate change,” its leader said.

Nicola Sturgeon gives Ted Talk in Edinburgh (TED)
Nicola Sturgeon gives Ted Talk in Edinburgh (TED)

Ms Sturgeon said care must be taken not to leave communities behind as it transitions away from oil and gas.

Advising against a complete switch off in the short term to avoid a spike in imports and economic problems, she advised against a “business as usual” approach.

She also repeated calls for the government to reassess licences to extract oil and gas from the North Sea given the current threat of climate change.

“The way in which we make the transition matters,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“But we can’t have business as usual, because if we keep telling ourselves we can rely on fossil fuels forever, then we’ll never make that transition and that’s the key point we’ve got to address.”

With COP26 coming to Scotland in November, Ms Sturgeon said it is imperative that leaders leave Scotland’s biggest city able to “look the next generation in the eye”, knowing they have done enough to stave off what scientists have identified as humanity’s biggest threat.

Nicola Sturgeon (TED)
Nicola Sturgeon (TED)

The annual summit on climate change will be held in Glasgow, bringing together more than 190 world leaders to discuss climate change from November 1 to 12.

“Glasgow, and the agreement that comes out of Glasgow, must... have the ability to meet the Paris objective,” Ms Sturgeon said.

Meanwhile Scottish Labour’s net zero spokeswoman, Monica Lennon, accused the First Minister of being “Boris Johnson’s spin doctor”.

“The UK government tried to hide behind process and officials, until a legal challenge by campaigners made it clear that the buck stops with Tory ministers,” she said.

“Nicola Sturgeon needs to get off the fence and shout from the rooftops about the damage Cambo would do.”

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